July 29, 2021 1:34:08 am
Presence of delta variant has been confirmed in 10 samples of Border Security Force (BSF) jawans who tested positive for Covid-19 in Gujarat earlier this month. The National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, has so far confirmed delta variant in 586 samples from Gujarat, the highest in May at 314.
Whole genome sequencing held at Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC), Gandhinagar, has revealed the presence of delta variant classified as B.1.617.2 in Pango lineage, in the samples of BSF jawans.
According to epidemic medical officer of Banaskantha, Dr NK Garg, 28 samples from the Covid-19 positive jawans were sent to the Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) in Gandhinagar, of which 10 samples were randomly taken and sequenced.
“All 10 samples sequenced showed delta variant, which was anyway prevalent during the second wave. Good news was that it is not delta plus (B.1.617.2.1 or commonly termed as AY.1). Clinically, all were healthy, asymptomatic and there was no infection severity. The sequencing results came on Tuesday,” added Dr Garg.
The GBRC had earlier detected the delta variant in 254 samples, as per publicly available data, with the earliest evidence in February this year.
As many as 51 of the 428 BSF jawans who arrived in Banaskantha from different parts of the country since July 3 tested positive for Covid-19 from the third week of July. Of them, 25 tested negative for Covid-19 in RT-PCR test as well as rapid antigen test (RAT), while 26 others have tested negative in RAT, while their RT-PCR reports are expected by Thursday, said Dr Garg.
The BSF jawans, who patrol the international border with Pakistan that extends across Kutch and Banaskantha districts in Gujarat, were quarantined at the College of Agriculture hostel in Tharad upon arrival. Those who tested positive were isolated at the Model School in Tharad block.
While GBRC was sequencing in an unofficial capacity, samples from Gujarat were officially being sent to NIV, Pune, during the second wave, the institute being part of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).
As per publicly available data from INSACOG, nine samples of delta variant were detected in samples from March, 263 samples in samples from April and 314 samples from May this year. The highest prevalence of this strain was seen in May, with 87 per cent of the total 359 samples from Gujarat turning out to be the delta variant of the virus.
Between March and May, over 5.38 lakh cases were reported in Gujarat, of which only 988 samples were sequenced by NIV, that is hardly 0.1 percent, against the ICMR-advised five per cent.
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